In the wake of the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada’s (PUCN) latest controversial net-metering decision, and after coming under fire from the solar industry himself, Gov. Brian Sandoval, R-Nev., has signed an executive order reconvening the New Energy Industry Task Force to advise the Governor’s Office of Energy on ways to promote the development of renewable energy and distributed energy resources in the state.
“There are few more critical issues to Nevada’s future than clean and renewable energy. Not only does this sector drive many economic-development opportunities, but it also helps us improve the quality of life for many Nevadans by helping keep our air clean, water fresh, and allows us to explore our unlimited potential in the wealth of renewables Nevada has to offer,” says Sandoval.
According to the governor’s office, the task force will work with the director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy, who by law serves as chair and appoints the members, to provide recommendations on the best energy policies for Nevada’s future and will specifically address policies that achieve the following:
- Encourage development of clean energy sources and integrate renewable energy technologies into Nevada’s energy sector;
- Create a modern, resilient and cost-effective energy grid; and
- Support distributed generation and storage, with a specific focus on rooftop solar and net metering.
“Nevada was already well on the road to compliance with proposed federal regulations concerning carbon emission rate reductions. That rule is now under scrutiny by the U.S. Supreme Court,” comments Sandoval, apparently referring the the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.
“The task force will be making recommendations for the state to consider with regard to future EPA compliance issues, but more importantly, to do the right thing for the people of Nevada,” he continues. “I have also asked the director to look into rooftop solar and Nevada’s energy grid so that we are prepared with any necessary legislation in time for the 2017 session of the Nevada legislature.”
In 2011, the Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy and the Nevada Public Utilities Commission were directed through Executive Order 2011-18 to coordinate and work collaboratively with the New Energy Industry Task Force to provide recommendations to the governor on issues regarding renewable energy generation within the regional energy transmission market.
“There is a continued need for collaboration and cooperation and among all stakeholders in order to develop the best plan for Nevada’s renewable and sustainable clean energy future. The New Energy Industry Task Force will provide an important arena for these discussions to happen and work to develop policy recommendations that will keep Nevada a national leader in renewable energy technology, commercialization and innovation,” says Angela Dykema, director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy.
When the PUCN denied a proposal earlier this month to grandfather in existing Nevada solar customers under previous net-metering rules, Sandoval expressed his disappointment about the decision. Notably, the task force will feature some members from the solar industry, including representatives from First Solar and Sunstreet.